Above, Performing arts played a central role in showcasing the ‘A’ in STEAM during Local District South’s weekend gala.

By Eric Grow, Secondary Literacy Coordinator
Local District South

As a growing number of schools are expanding their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula to include the arts, L.A. Unified’s Local District South hosted its first The “A” in STEAM Gala Saturday at Banning High School.

Robotics and coding helped provide fun and entertainment while bringing art and science together.

Drawing over 1,300 students and parents to the Wilmington campus, the festival spotlighted some of the many talented young artists and performers attending Local District South schools.

Performances — ranging from rock to theatre to dance and marching bands — underscored the breadth and diversity of the district’s young talent. Hundreds of students from over twenty schools performed at the event, as others contributed original artwork and projects.

“I’m proud of the major achievements being made in STEAM education in Local District South,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “This event gives our students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned to the entire community.”

Economists, business leaders and educators agree that as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts play a critical role in the expanding global economy, STEAM education must assume an increasingly prominent place in students’ daily instruction.

The gala honored Local District South’s goal of establishing uninterrupted pathways to a rigorous STEAM education by offering participants a choice of interactive workshops and a Tech Fair that promoted STEAM-based learning. A series of STEAM challenges throughout the day encouraged spirited competition among the elementary, middle and high schools demonstrating an unbroken chain in K-12 STEAM education.

The event benefited from the support and sponsorship of public and private entities, including L.A. Unified’s Arts Education Branch and California State University Dominguez Hills. Local parent volunteers and students also pitched in.

“Today’s event was truly a community success,” said Christopher Downing, superintendent of Local District South. “When I see enthusiasm like this, I’m reminded that we are a STEAM district because all our stakeholders work together to guarantee that a rigorous STEAM education is available to our students district-wide. It’s inspiring.”

Local District South arts specialist Grace Park agreed.

“Parents and students walked away from the event with smiles on their faces,” she said. “They knew that not only do their schools support them, but that all of Local District South does as well.”